Just 51 miles from Nassau, there is a sliver of land that boldly splits the teal Caribbean and deep blue Atlantic; its lined with 135 beaches, coral cliffs, 8,000 locals and a handful tourists. We aren’t sure why more people don’t know about Eleuthera Island, considering it’s the Bahamas’ oldest settlement, a 55-minute flight from Florida, and outrageously beautiful. For those who do make it here, this pristine island–void of chain hotels, crowded beaches, shopping malls, or even a stop light–will find a slice of heaven.
Eleuthera, Bahamas Travel Guide
There isn’t any public transportation on Eleuthera but with only one paved road and extremely friendly people, there is always someone heading your way. Hitchhiking is the island’s public transit system and most locals will pick up anyone with a thumb out. So we started walking from the airport and within five minutes, a car pulls up. “Need a lift?” It took us four different hitches to make it the 28 miles, but we met sooo many great people — a principal, a pastor, a government official, and a bartender—that would take this experience over a taxi any day.
(Awesome side story: When the principal picked us up, she was driving the preschool carpool! We were worried she’d get fired when the parents saw hitch-hikers crammed in with their toddlers but the moms didn’t even bat an eye.)
Our Condo at Buttonwood Reserve
We often review hotels for different publications but when one property couldn’t host us, the reservation specialist was so nice he invited us to stay at his place instead! We gladly accepted his generous offer of a place to crash…little did we know it would be our own luxury condo. Buttonwood Reserve is on 50 lush acres with two ocean views, and eight beautifully decorated units for vacation rentals or to own. We loved having some downtime in this delightful space, dipping in the pool, cooking fish dinners in our deluxe kitchen, and having sun-downers on our porch. Watch our video tour of this posh pad.
Golf Carting to James Point Beach
A private road leads from Buttonwood Reserve down to James Point Beach, a dramatic coral cove on the Atlantic side. Cruising in our unit’s complimentary golf cart, we crossed over a lagoon and followed the sea cliff trail past an old shipwreck and fields of agave. We arrived at the beach just in time for sunset…pink skies reflecting on the pink sand set the whole place aglow.
Biking to Coco di Mama Beach
The next day we ventured five miles south to Coco di Mama beach. Between the hills and the Caribbean sun, not many people bike on Eleuthera (as we could gather from people cheering us on) but the challenge is rewarded with pristine beaches like this. We spent the afternoon sunbathing on sandbars islands and wading in the calm warm waters.
Pascal’s Restaurant & Beach Bar
Pascal’s restaurant is said to be one of the best restaurants in central Eleuthera and on top of that, a meal there grants you access to the Sky Beach Club’s ocean-side pool, swim-up bar, and fantastic beach. We hung with Sammy, their friendly bartender with the gift of gab and Goombay Smash, and savored Pascal’s conch fritters and a blackened grouper sandwich.
Heading north on the island, we arrived to Gregory Town: home of the Annual Pineapple Festival, The Island-Made Gift shop, and The Cove Eleuthera…the most beautiful beach resort we’ve ever seen. It used to be a hippie lodge in an old pineapple field, then in 2013 this unbelievable piece of real estate, with its twin beach coves framed in coral cliffs, re-opened as a four-star escape.
Standup Paddleboarding The Sea Cliffs
We started our mornings, either sipping espresso on our porch or doing yoga at the point, followed by one of The Cove’s many water activities: snorkeling, kayaking, fishing, boating, or standup paddleboarding. We’ve done SUP before, but with waters this calm and cliffs so stunning, it was like no other.
Snorkeling North Eleuthera
After lounging on the beach with a book and a Bahama Mama, the resident boat captain took us snorkeling. We dove in to find forests of purple fan coral, underwater caves, a sunken bridge, and fish galore. We spotted yellow spotted rays, lion fish, spiny lobster, even a seven-foot nurse shark! Fun Fact: Lenny Kravitz is half Bahamian and you pass his house on your snorkel trip.
The Gregory Town Grill at The Cove
For those who go spearfishing or hand-lining, The Cove’s sushi chef can sashimi or grill your catch of the day. One of the guests was so proud of his fish, he offered everyone in the restaurant a piece of his self-caught sashimi. Call it cheating, but we just ordered our spicy tuna rolls and this beautiful seaweed salad off the menu and kicked back to enjoy the view.
The Queen’s Baths
Just a quick bike or drive from The Cove are The Queen’s Baths — a place that “Mike Rock-Hound Howard” ranks as his new favorite geological wonders of the world. The Atlantic wave action has carved the limestone and exposed a myriad of colors, textures, artistic formations, plus multiple swimming pools. At low tide, we climbed down and basked in the sun-heated baths.
We didn’t know places like Eleuthera still existed in the Bahamas. Mother Nature has exclusive rights to the 100+ beaches and the locals are happy to share the island’s natural beauty with anyone who makes the journey. That’s Eleuthera…and we’ll be back.